Use it or lose it: How to put your customer journey map to good use

16th Oct 2014

Although a great deal of time and effort needs to be invested in building a customer journey map, the value is not actually in the map itself. The value of customer journey mapping is in the insights you learn along the way, and the ways in which you are able to make improvements based on that.

As Dwight D Eisenhower once said: "Planning is everything, the plan is nothing." 

And this focus on the map itself, rather than what they’re going to do with it, is a common place for companies to come unstuck with their customer journey mapping endeavours.

“We call it ‘customer journey mapping’, so the name itself actually encourages us to think about the output being the map, but that is something we need to push away from,” warns Bruce Temkin, managing partner at Temkin Group and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. “The creation of the map is really only an interim deliverable along the process. It is really what you do with it, and how you use it, that is important.”

Jane Linton, business director-Imano at Ness SES, adds: “The biggest mistake of all is to only complete a CJM as part of a strategic exercise. CJMs are intended to be used throughout the year, not stored on the company servers or in the cloud until revision the next year. Much like personas, a CJM should be part of the day-to-day focus on the customer needs, solving their problems and making the customer experience the best it could possibly be through your product or service, no matter where they are on their journey.”

So once you have the map complete, how can you put it to good use?

Temkin says the key outputs of a customer journey map are: identify moments of truth; establish a baseline of experience; and hypothesise future experiences. He adds that customer journey maps are typically used in three ways.

“One is for making improvements where things are broken. Oftentimes it’ll identify broken parts of the experience,” he explains. “The second area is it identifies places where there’s ‘white space’, meaning there are places to innovate and create a future experience that is quite different.”

“And the third area is around internal education and training. There’s a lot of value in not only being able to make changes based on what you have learned in the journey mapping but also to use it as a training tool for people in the organisation to understand what the customer goes through.”

With that in mind, he proposes the following to-do list after a customer journey map has been built:

  • Share learnings across the organisation. “Communication, whether you’re a shopping centre or a global retailer, is key,” notes Bill McCarthy, CEO of EMEA, at ShopperTrak. Ensure that you are sharing data internally so that everyone from the board room to the shop floor has a grasp on performance, as well as areas that need improvement.” 
  • Adjust Voice of the Customer listening posts to prioritise moments of truth.
  • Define metrics and track performance for moments of truth. “When changes are made, it’s important to capture and share customer reaction to the changes in order to recognise contribution, refine the implementation and sustain momentum,” advises Andy Green, director of The Customer Framework.
  • Prioritise and act upon opportunities for fixing problems. “Share the design with each function and engage them to identify what is stopping them delivering the desired experience,” recommends Andy Green. “This turns the thinking into behaviours and attitudes that staff and suppliers understand and can act on. Those things within their direct control, they can adopt and own immediately. Things requiring broader organisation support for the basis for the transformation plan.”
  • Prioritise and act upon opportunities to wow customers. Temkin emphasises that a map can identify opportunities for innovation. “By looking at a business traveller’s entire journey through customer journey mapping, a travel firm might find that at one stage he likes to coordinate his travel with colleagues. This might be an area that the company didn’t even have any capabilities around before because it didn’t see these interactions in its touchpoint maps, as they had nothing to do with the travel firm. So this stage where the traveler is collaborating and coordinating might be an area that the travel company can innovate on its offering and really make itself more valuable to that audience. So a CJM can be used to innovate and create entirely new experiences.”
  • Establish teams to design and roll out future-state experiences.
  • Embed learnings about customers in training and communications. Temkin explains: “Some companies actually find that training is the most important use for CJM. It can be used to train new hires, and teach existing hires that the work that they’re doing isn’t about just their internal siloes, but is really about helping customers go through this journey. And the better they understand this journey the more likely they are to be able to do things that will help the customer and improve customer experience.”
  • Do CJMs for other customers and other areas of the business. “Create a variety of personas,” says Linton. “This is essential to understand how different segments of your customer base might need different channels or different messaging to others - which is key when looking at the millennial generation against Baby Boomers, for example!”
  • Repeat CJM every 18-24 months or when something changes. “Keep it up to date to reflect constantly changing technologies, consumer behaviour and business proposition,” recommends Dea Kacorri, senior user experience consultant at Realise


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